Hey folks I could use a but of help.

Hey folks I could use a but of help.

Hey folks I could use a but of help. I suck at thinking of maps, my mind blanks and I second guess myself when trying to place landmarks. Basically the Draw a map leave blanks move for me is Draw blanks where’s map? What do most people do, draw out a landscape and save placing landmarks for when you’re playing? Grab old module maps and “reimagine” them? My players are having a great time but I really wanna flesh out the world but still have uncharted territories. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

11 thoughts on “Hey folks I could use a but of help.”

  1. I like to map specific places I might like to see in play and and leave the rest to play.  So, a whole dungeon could just be 5 maps of specific rooms you have ideas about (like that one where the underground river flows through it and there are all those fish nets hanging down from the foot bridge), on separate sheets of paper, and then you add tunnels and other rooms in between.  They don’t even have to be maps, they could just be pictures you’ve pulled off of the internet.

  2. I start simple. Ask the questions: where are they? What around is valuable, what is important. If high fantasy that starts a tavern or home, the basic shops, and the place where the campaign needs to go.

  3. I have a small whiteboard (a little bigger than A4 paper) and I just draw out the current room/environment that they are in.

    After they leave the room, I do a rough sketch of where they are in relations to where they’ve been. 

    ALTHOUGH I just got a new tablet, and hope to find a way to add fog-of-war to some of Dyson’s maps. Because he’s awesome, and has the best maps!

  4. Stephanie Bryant has a great point, but don’t let them steal your guidance. Good option might be to let someone use spout lore about the area and someone else draw a map about it.

  5. Whenever you are curious about the world, ask the character who knows (like the dwarf it it is mountains, or the thief when it is the thieves guild HQ) and get them to draw it on the map.

    The Blanks are the unknown right? So who better to explore them than the characters during play. Its not just playing to see what happens, but where as well. 🙂

  6. When I draw maps I do sort of the opposite. I map the whole place, but I leave the details blank. So one area might just have the note “goblins”, and I figure out the details later.

  7. Thanks for the great advice everyone! really helped focus my addled brain. I’ve got two separate DW groups so I’m gonna try out a couple of the different techniques you all have suggested with each group.

  8. I have tried a few different approaches and all work very well.

    1) Draw out stuff, but don’t label it. My players walk into a two and I say there are six merchants/shops on the street. I point out the baker and the Inn, then ask them to tell me what the other four are. You get some crazy answers which is fun =)

    2) I needed a cavern map a while back. I went to an online website, generated a cavern with some turns and two big chambers. Then I hopped into MS paint and deleted small segments of cave walls in three areas. When they passed by these areas I asked them what they saw, heard, smelled, etc… This gives me the info I need to populate it or gives them a chance to introduce something they want to encounter in play. I draw out the size of the passage based on what they’re encountering, and wallah!

    3) I was leading my player through a mine, I described all that they saw, never mapping anything out. Then we got to a section where they would drop down into a large chamber. I handed them the paper and said draw me this chamber. She said no thanks. So I draw a large featureless cavern, essentially a square with rounded edges. She became a bat and used sonar and I filled in a few small details. I asked her again if she wanted to fill in some stuff and she drew a set of stairs carved into the rocks, a passageway leading off the map, an area below where something might be, and a vast drop into an underground lake.

    Leaving blanks simply means don’t take the time to map every last detail out. Give them opportunities to introduce details. If you want them to draw the map or describe to you what they are seeing, let them! If they want it to be described to them, go for it. If you really want them to get some drawing in, be very basic and generic with your drawings. They’ll often start to feel like there should be more there and happily step up to draw in some details.

    Leaving blanks can mean you know there is a room there but you don’t know if anybody is in it. It can mean you know the room is there with occupants, but you have no idea what the layout is or what furniture is in there. It could be asking for shop names or for them to name NPC’s in a tavern or to take existing maps and erase random areas of interest. The goal is to spark their imagination and interest in the world around them. Get them thinking of the small details and imagining the world unfolding before their eyes. This takes training on both sides of the table but with work it can lead to a beautiful and deeply rewarding collaborative effort by all those involved.

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